By Rebecca R. Newsome, MIRM
For New Homes & Ideas, Jodi Sauerbier, Publisher
Although we are surrounded by a feast of dazzling colors and textures each and every day, many of us don’t give a tremendous amount of thought as to how these elements affect our moods. According to color psychology proponents, the hues we choose to decorate our homes can have a significant impact on the emotional well being of ourselves and our families. Their studies show that when our eyes connect with a color, chemicals are released in our brains that affect us on physical and emotional levels. Color can elevate our energy levels, help us to wind down at the end of a busy day, and elicit numerous vibes in between. Texture adds dimension both physically and psychologically. Let’s take a new look at how these elements influence our frames of mind, starting with color.
A warm color, red is frequently associated with energy, passion, adventure, courage, ambition, and even rage and danger. It conjures images of heat and fire and is said to stimulate conversation and appetite, therefore making it a great choice for foyers, living rooms, and dining rooms. Red creates a strong first impression and is considered the most intense color on the chart.
Another high energy, social, and warm color, yet a little more subtle than red, orange is inviting, exciting, enthusiastic, and joyful. Bright shades are playful, while deep shades are exotic. Orange is an excellent choice for gathering areas and exercise rooms. Although welcoming and soothing, care should be taken in the colors in which orange is mixed and matched… Avoid blacks, blues, and pinks with orange.
Said to be the happiest of all colors, yellow is cheerful and inspirational, suggesting creativity, spirituality, enlightenment, and clear and positive thinking. As with sunshine, yellow is said be helpful in reducing depression and increasing communication and laughter. A warm color, yellow encourages connections with other people and is ideal for kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, and halls.
Reminiscent of the sky and the ocean, blue is perhaps the most natural of all colors. It invokes feelings of tranquility, harmony, and calm, making it a perfect choice for bedrooms, bathrooms, and gathering areas. Blue is said to reduce blood pressure, slow respiration and heart rate, and even curb nightmares and hunger pangs. (Think about it… Few blue foods exist.) Many people say blue is their favorite color due to its calming effect. However, as a cool color, blue walls can come across as cold unless it is balanced with warm colors in furniture and fabrics. Furthermore, dark blue can promote feelings of sadness, which is perhaps the origin of “feeling blue” or “having the blues.” Light blues such as baby blue, warm blues such as periwinkle, and bright blues such as turquoise and azure are great choices for promoting increased calm and satisfaction among our family and friends in our homes.
Another calm, natural, and pleasing color is green, the shade of leafy trees, grassy pastures, and rolling meadows. It is considered the most restful color for the eye and the signature color of nature, evoking freshness, serenity, stability, balance, and persistence. Green can be used in kitchens, family and living rooms, and bedrooms, emitting a vibrant, spring-like feel all year long when used in lighter shades and a soothing, peaceful ambiance when used in darker, harvest-type tones. It encourages comfort, relaxation, and companionship. Green is said to reduce stress by helping people relax, and is said to also help with fertility. Dark green is thought to be masculine and conservative, with an implication of wealth. “Green has always been a favorite, and it continues to grow even stronger because of its association with the ‘going green’ movement,” says Jackie Caprio, Marketing Director at Robuck Homes.
“We like to incorporate Sherwin Williams Sea Salt into our homes,” says JordanBuilt Homes Director of Marketing Elizabeth Klosterman. “It’s a very soft green neutral color with a hint of blue. The architectural style of the home sets the tone for how we select colors. We like to use fewer colors versus many colors; we feel one color should flow gently into another to create a balance of harmony. Color speaks volumes without saying a word, and lighting creates shadows and depth. Our advice is to stay true to one style and you’ll be happy.”
Associated with luxury, sensuality, nobility, and sophistication, purple is a cool color that suggests a sense of depth. Purple is said to promote creativity as it stimulates the problem-solving areas in our brains, which leads to elevated intuition and artistic abilities. Dark purples are rich and dramatic, while lighter purples (think lavender and lilac) invoke feelings of calm and tranquility similar to those emitted by blue, but without the threat of a frosty feel.
Black, gray, brown, taupe, beige, and white are the essentials of all decorating color wheels. Neutrals’ flexibility allows color to be added to enliven a room and take color away to calm it down. The neutral color black represents clarity, sophistication, glamour, and prestige. It has the potential to make a room look dark and small if overused, however, some experts believe that all rooms need a bit of black to impart depth and balance. Gray communicates intelligence, wisdom, sophistication, and calm. It has been called the color of architecture and is considered a futuristic hue. Brown, taupe, and beige are representative of contentment, honesty, high morals, hearth, and home. They evoke feelings of security and a safe environment. The symbol of purity, white suggests simplicity, optimism, clarity, and cleanness. White makes a room look larger and is a perfect hue for adding other colors. Like black, it emits sophistication, but care should be taken to not overuse white, as it can make a room too bright.
“We tend to keep the main color throughout our homes in fairly neutral tones of beige, taupe or warm gray,” says Mary Beth Taintor, Interior Designer for Robuck Homes. “Urban Putty and Nantucket Dune are two great neutral colors by Sherwin Williams. The dining room, kitchen and master suite are areas to personalize the look and feel of the home with an accent paint color. For cottage and coastal homes, lighter shades of blues, greens and grays are often used.”
“As Mary Beth stated, we go with neutral colors for the big-ticket items and pull in pops of trendier colors for accent pieces,” adds Jackie Caprio. “Color trends on the rise are grays, soft purples, new takes on black and white, and the use of vibrant pops of colors such as bright orange and yellow.”
Sherwin Williams offers many beautiful neutral colors for homes comments Elizabeth Klosterman. “Check out the cool neutral palettes of Oyster Bay and Ethereal Mood, or the warm palettes of Dapper Tan and Wool Skein,” says Elizabeth. “These are subtle, feel-good colors that draw from nature. Creamy whites work well with these for trim inside and outside the home. Going back to simpler times, clean and fresh colors often work best.”
So, What Role Does Texture Play?
Just as color impacts our emotions, texture personalizes our homes and affects our moods in a similar manner. Who doesn’t love the feel of newly mown spring grass beneath our feet or remember the joy of jumping into a pile of fall leaves as a child? Or the way a soft blanket nuzzles us on a winter night or how a cold glass of iced tea feels heavenly against our cheek on a hot summer day? Just as these tactile elements remind us of pleasurable feelings, so does the use of texture in our homes. The textures of hardwood flooring, carpeting, accent walls, cabinetry, backsplashes, fixtures, and fabrics combine to add interest and make homes feel finished, polished, and perhaps most importantly, ours. Texture adds dimension and unique character to each room.
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